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How Google can tell Ed Whitacre to get lost

Ed Whitacre is CEO of AT&T- which intends to buy BellSouth and hopes to charge high-bandwidth content providers like Vonage and Google carriage over their pipes.But that photo is one of dark fiber, of which Google has lots.
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Written by Russell Shaw on
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Ed Whitacre is CEO of AT&T- which intends to buy BellSouth and hopes to charge high-bandwidth content providers like Vonage and Google carriage over their pipes.

But that photo is one of dark fiber, of which Google has lots. If Google plays it right, those fiber strands could strand the broadband access monopolists. In this post, I'll tell you how.

There's a "Project Manager-Network Acquisition" ad up on Google Jobs that reads more than just a search for someone to handle internal Google communications needs:

Google has an immediate opening for a seasoned technical project manager to plan, facilitate, and manage the acquisition and deployment of new network services acquired from third party suppliers and vendors globally. This individual will work closely with the technical negotiation team to understand the terms of new contracts and engagements including delivery targets and technical requirements; with internal project management teams to communicate target completion dates and ensure that all internal requirements are being met in a timely manner; with external vendors to gather and enforce schedules for installation of services; and with internal technical teams to ensure that all services meet with their technical and service requirements.

One of the "Responsibilities" bullet-points is especially interesting:

This includes delivery of end-to-end solutions for network connectivity including facilitation of the installation of new network nodes, the delivery of new metropolitan network services, the delivery of long haul transport capacity, and augments to existing transit and peering relationships. 

"New metropolitan network services..." Hmm, what might that mean? 

Now since it is widely known that Google has all this dark fiber, let us imagine what these "strategic negotiators" might wind up negotiating about.

They might wind up talking to infrastruture backbone companies such as Level 3 about peering services for what could be a new, de facto Internet.

Then, as last-mile end points to businesses and residences, they could, well, "strategically negotiate" with other points of entry providers, such as electrical utilities that run wires into the home, and maybe even private cable companies that specialize in services to large apartment buildings and institutional settings.

And Google could also confederate with one or more major Wi-Fi access providers to add a wireless access component for this new Internet.

And Google could be one partner in stitching together WiMax networks that could run to a home where WiMax-enabled PCs and other devices could receive and send signals.
And then Google has both the proprietary pipes and the proprietary over-the-air technologies to offer carriage to affiliated partners or eventual subsidiaries that might not be willing to pay a surcharge for equal carriage rights on the telecom and cable-run Internet pipes of today.

Partners or subsidiaries: you would be looking for partners or potential acquisitions in business lines and companies that would have the most to gain from facing the broadband monopolists down and have the knowledge and motivation to do so.
Companies such as EarthLink, who has never backed down from a fight with the broadband monopolists and is strategically minded enough to ally with the right partners;

Companies such as Vonage, which is the largest VoIP "pure play" not owned by a broadband access monopolist.

I could see Vonage and EarthLink partnering with Google and maybe a Level3 on a new Internet. EarthLink and Vonage could be wise acqusition targets for Google as well.

Then Google offers their own subscription plans. Because EarthLink already has substantial back-end billing functions, EarthLink could do this for a Google Internet- either as a partner or acquired company working as a broadband services subsidiary.  

If broadband monopolists would have the cajones to tell sites to stay off Google's Internet- Google has some chips of their own to play. And I don't think even this current pro-broadband Administration would let this fly.

This Google Internet could challenge- and maybe render into irrelevance-  AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre's November, 2005  volley about big-bytes broadband services:

 

How do you think they're going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe. Cable companies have them. We have them. Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?
The Internet can't be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment and for a Google or Yahoo! (YHOO ) or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is nuts!

So to that, I say: what if Google or Vonage isn't using your pipes? 

What if they use their own pipes? 

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